People of the Book

Mazel tov to the 40 volunteers involved in Temple Sinai’s People of the Book Literacy Project. It was one of three Oakland programs to receive a volunteer recognition award from the Oakland Unified School District. Judy Zollman, who coordinates the project with Jean Stein, Lois Clauson, Judy Stettner, Beth Hurwich and Mary Nelson, reports that the program was established 16 years ago and has adopted seven Oakland schools, creating libraries in each. Over the years, dozens of bar and bat mitzvah kids have done book drives for the project, and a whopping 160,000 books have been donated to children in need — plus thousands more to school libraries. Adults and teens currently are tutoring in two of the schools. “We are proud of all of our work in Oakland schools and really see we make a difference with the kids we tutor and mentor,” writes Zollman.

More book talk

Sandra Feder

And while we’re talking children and books … ”Daisy’s Defining Day” is Sandra Feder’s second “Daisy” book for grades two to five. Feder writes (on www.sandravfeder.com), “I hope that the Daisy Series will help children develop a lifelong love of language and begin to understand … the fun and power of words”… David Schnell has published “The Night Before Baseball at the Park by the Bay,” a story, told in verse, about a young boy’s dream of pitching for the San Francisco Giants coming to life. The book was published in partnership with the Giants, and Schnell gave away 10,000 copies at games in July. You can get yours at the Giants’ store or online at www.nightbeforebaseball.com. P.S. Both books are delightfully illustrated.


Bright lights

Gaby Alter

Gaby Alter, formerly of Berkeley, has written the music and lyrics for “Nobody Loves You,” a new musical that spoofs reality shows, playing at the Second Stage Theatre in New York City. Calling the play an “agreeably snarky musical,” New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood says Alter and playwright Itamar Moses lampoon “cluelessly self-obsessed contestants, ludicrous challenges mounted with stern seriousness, smarmy hosts with too many gleaming teeth, thundering music punctuating moments of factitious drama.”



Short shorts

Jake Pantic-Horne

Jake Pantic-Horne of Alamo took home 12(!) swimming medals — six gold and six silver — while representing the JCC of the East Bay at the Maccabi Games in Orange County earlier this month. The 15-year-old’s medals came in freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke events of various distances, plus in the 400-yard medley relay … From the Kehilla Community Synagogue newsletter — members Richard Miles and Michelle Roland, now living in Tanzania, were selected to meet and greet President Obama when he visited there. Roland is country director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS … Congregation Beth Am member Lauren Hart sang the national anthem at her U.C. Berkeley graduation. She received the Mark Goodson Prize for Distinguished Artistic Talent from the theater, dance and performance studies department, and will begin a master’s program at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater in the fall … And finally — Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

Suzan Berns